Best Colleges and Universities for Criminal Justice Degrees

Best Colleges and Universities for Criminal Justice Degrees

The best criminal justice degree programs are those with rich histories of influence, proven through the work produced by the program’s faculty and alumni. Beyond demonstrating scholarly impact in the field, the best criminal justice degree programs maximize your opportunities to interact with outstanding criminal justice faculty.

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is an excellent starting point for a career in policing, corrections, homeland security, and a host of other important roles related to crime, justice, and public safety. As a criminal justice major, you’ll study three primary subject areas—law enforcement, corrections, and the courts. Majoring in criminal justice is a good starting point if you plan to study policing, law, administration of justice, counter-terrorism, and more. You’ll study related subjects including criminal psychology, rehabilitation, and sociology. And if you’re interested in eventually going to law school and becoming a practicing attorney, majoring in criminal justice could be a good starting point. A degree in criminal justice will give you the knowledge and qualifications to contribute to public safety, national security, social justice, and a host of other related fields.

Degree popularity: Criminal justice bachelor’s degrees are the 16th most popular undergraduate degrees across all student demographics. It is slightly more popular among men. Crimianl justice degrees rank 6th among Black men, 8th for Black women, 8th among Hispanic men, and 15th for Hispanic women, according to the number of degree earners reported by the National Center for Educational Statistics.

Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degrees

Earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can open numerous professional doors. As noted above, the study of criminal justice is divided into three key areas: law enforcement, corrections, and the court system. Within each of these areas, there are countless avenues to a career. Whether you wish to work in a police precinct, for the Department of Homeland Security, as part of a private security firm, as a private detective, or in a specialized field like the prevention of cybercrime, majoring in criminal justice can help you get there.

Today, top influencers in Criminal Justice are working on felon disenfranchisement, place-based criminology, alternative drug policies, and much more.

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Criminal justice is a popular major because it can provide pathways into countless fields and career opportunities. If you’re looking for a well-paying and secure job, a criminal justice degree is a great place to start. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, the average median pay for police officers and detectives was $65,170. For Detectives and Criminal Investigators, that figure was $81,920 in 2018. And if you parlay your criminal justice major into a postgraduate law degree, note that lawyers, in 2019, earned a well-above-average median pay of $122,960.

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Once you’ve declared your major in criminal justice, you will likely be required to complete a set of core courses in a number of related subject areas. While your concentration will give you a chance to choose from a wide range of highly-specialized criminal justice electives, there are a number of common courses that most Criminal justice majors will be required to take, including:

  • Introduction to Criminology
  • International Law
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Race and the State
  • Comparative Criminal Law
  • Big Data and Surveillance
  • Transformative Justice
  • Capital Punishment in America

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With a degree in criminal justice, you could qualify for an array of opportunities in law enforcement, security, forensics, counter-terrorism, corrections, and much more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identifies the following top jobs in criminal justice:

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Best Colleges and Universities for Criminal Justice Degree Programs

The Best Colleges and Universities for Criminal Justice Degrees

Best Criminal Justice Major Research Universities

  1. University of Florida
  2. University of Washington
  3. Boston University
  4. Florida State University
  5. Boston College

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Best Criminal Justice Major Liberal Arts Colleges

  1. John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  2. College of the Ozarks
  3. Southern University at New Orleans
  4. San Francisco State University
  5. California State University, Long Beach

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Best Criminal Justice Major Online Colleges

  1. Florida State University
  2. Sam Houston State University
  3. University of Cincinnati
  4. Portland State University
  5. University of Central Florida

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The Best Criminal Justice Schools in Your State

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